Secrets of Middle-earth


  • The Woses of Anórien, the Púkel-men of Andrast, and the Fisher-folk of Enedwaith are equivalent to the Picts of Thrace, Picts of France, and Picts of Ireland mentioned in the Cashel Psalter. Their location on the map of Middle-earth comes from this.
  • The Hillmen of the North are Middle-earth's equivalent of the "Men of the North" (Gwŷr y Gogledd), the Cumbrians.
  • Angmar is the "Middle-earth equivalent" of Scotland.
  • The Witch-king, as a foil to the Kings of Arnor, is partly based on Mordred, a national hero of Scotland, and foil of King Arthur.
  • The Witch-king is also based on Macbeth, who is likewise Scottish. It's fortold that Macbeth will be slain "not by man born of woman" and is then killed by Mcduff, born by caesarian section. Glorfindel foretells of the Witch-king: “Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."
  • The Witch-king would speak with the accent of a Scottish lord. (Think Macbeth as played in an Edinburgh production, with a Scottish actor.)
  • The Witch-King is also partly based on King Gorice XII, the sorcerer king of Witchland from The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison.
  • Likewise, Carn Dûm is modelled on the decadent fortress of Carce, the capital of Witchland.
  • The foray of the Eotheod against the eastern Angmarians is evocative of the Anglo-Saxon overlordship of Pictland during the 600s.
  • The Beornings are the equivalent of the Bernicians/Beornicians. Their straddling of the Upper Anduin (formerly part of Angmar) and Middle Anduin is equivalent to how the Beornician kingdom straddled the border of what is now Scotland and England. 
  • The Beornings' speech would be fictively translated as Old English (specifically Old Northumbrian versus Mark-speech as Old Mercian)
  • The northern town of Woodmen from The Hobbit map speak a language that would be fictively translated as Old Saxon (Old Low German).
  • The southern Woodman town speaks a language which would be translated as Old High German. 
  • The name Vinitharya means that there are "Slavs" in eastern Rhovanion. The OED entry for "Wend" includes the Gothic cognate <Vinith>.
  • Like the Northman name "Vinith" (and the Latin <Venedi>), the name would be used as a general name for "Middle-earth Slavs", but specifically for the two "Slavic" peoples of Mirkwood. These would be: the "Viniths of Eastern Mirkwood", equivalent to Wends (Lusatian Sorbs, etc.), and the "Viniths of Southern Mirkwood" equivalent to Slovenes (a.k.a. Winds).
  • Olaus Magnus' History of the Northern Peoples is a fitting source for the Forodwaith.
  • The Balchoth are equivalent to the Bulgars. The element <Balc> is evocative of <Bulg-/Balg-/Balk->.
  • The Wainriders of the mid-Third Age are equivalent to the Huns. They are no longer a distinct people in the West-lands by the late Third Age.
  • The Northmen of Rhovanion of the mid-Third Age are equivalent to the Goths. In the late 3.A. there would be a remnant of "Vidugavian" speakers along the Sea of Rhun (perhaps in the Neldoreth woods), equivalent to the Crimean Goths.
  • The other Northmen (i.e. Germanic) peoples of the mid-Third Age would speak equivalents of earlier versions of the Germanic languages. For example, the Men of Dale in the mid-3.A. would speak the equivalent of Proto-Norse. This periodization would also be applied to other peoples of Wilderland.
  • Khand is culturally equivalent to Khazaria.
  • The Beorians are the Anglo-Saxons of the First Age.
  • The Hadorians are the Goths of the First Age.
  • The Halethians are the Brythons of the First Age.
  • The Drûgs of Beleriand are the Picts of the First Age. The wordshape <Drûg> is evocative of Irish <Cruth> and Welsh <Pryd> "Pict".
  • The Borians are the Magyars of the First Age. There is a legendary King Bor of the Hungarians.
  • Though Tolkien didn't know it, the Magol language he designed is supposed to be for them.
  • The Ulfangians are the Huns of the First Age.
  • Ulfang and Bor are like Hunor and Magor, the legendary founders of the Hunnic and Magyar/Hungarian nations. Unlike the Huns, the Hungarians became Christians, which is evocative of how the Borians remained Faithful.
  • The Fallohides are Jutes
  • The Harfoots are Angles
  • The Northern Stoors are Saxons
  • The Southern Stoors are Welsh
  • Even in the late 3.A., the Wild-hobbits of the River Gladden would speak the Old West Saxon dialect of OE since they are Northern Stoors.
  • The Old English language of the Shire and the Old Welsh language of the Marish and Buckland were replaced by "Middle Westron" at about the same date. "Middle Westron" is seen in the Yellowskin and in the earlier weekday names from the RotK appendix.
  • During the "Middle Westron" period, The Shire spoke the equivalent of West Midland Middle English
  • Bree spoke "East Midland Middle English" during the "Middle Westron" period.
  • Tom Bombadil and any other Old Forest dwellers who speak the Common Speech have a Traditional Berkshire/Oxfordshire English dialect.
  • The "Easterlings with axes" are the Third Age equivalent of Krivichs. They are the Men that are "Not tall, but broad and grim, bearded like Dwarves, wielding great axes. Out of some savage land in the East..."  According to Vasmer, a scholar from Tolkien's time, the name of the tribe probably stems from that of their forefather kniaz Kriv, whose sobriquet derives from the adjective krivoy ("crooked/twisted"). "Krivichs" were one of the founding tribes of the Russian Nation. The Lithuanian word for "Russian" is still "Krivich", which also means "Men with Axes". The Russian Primary Chronicle would be the source for depicting the North-West of Rhun.
  • Variags are renegade Northmen. Their native language is Northern/"Old Norse" (though some come from the Vales of Anduin and speak Vale-speech/"Old English").
  • The Snowmen are Skridfinns (Saami),
  • Dorwinion is like early medieval Georgia, a land of wine and of youth.
  • The Black Numenoreans are the equivalent of the medieval Copts. The Coptic name for Egypt <Keme> means "Black Land".
  • The Hunter-folk of Eryn Vorn are equivalent to Cornishmen. By the late 3.A., their Halethian language is replaced by Westron. Their Westron dialect would be translated as traditional Anglo-Cornish dialect.
  • The Shire speaks the equivalent of Warwickshire dialect.
  • Buckland speaks the equivalent of the Anglo-Welsh/Welsh English dialect
  • Bree-land speaks the equivalent of Buckinghamshire dialect: http://met.open.ac.uk/genuki/big/eng/BKM/Vocabulary/index.html
  • The Primary World towns of Brill (Bree-hill) and Coombe are located in Buckinghamshire.
  • Besides the Shire, the Bree-men and the Hunter-folk also have a 1897-era culture (minus machines).
  • The joke about the name "Boffin" is that it's an English slang word for "nerd, mad scientist-type".
  • The Men of Umbar speak Westron as their native language.
  • The Lake-men are the Geats of the 3.A.
  • The Dale-men are the Svear of the 3.A.
  • The Northmen that Tolkien mentions at the end of The Hobbit as living west of Dale are the 3.A. equivalents of Norwegians. They might be called "Northmen from West of Dale".
  • The Northmen living south of Dale are equivalent to Danes...the "Northmen from South of Dale".
  • Besides the "Woodmen of Western Mirkwood", there are also Men mentioned in The Hobbit as "bold men", "brave woodmen" who are "making their way back into it from the South", (the Eagle calls that area the "southward plains"). These live between the Carrock and the Gladden. They probably speak Vale-speech/OE (specifically Old Mercian) as their native tongue, though there are likely families of OLG and OHG speakers too. They might be called "Woodmen of the Middle Anduin".
  • According to RotK appendix on the extent of Westron as a native tongue, there are a "few men" dwelling on the west bank south of the Gladden, north of Rauros besides the Rohirrim. These men apparently live between the Gladden and the northern border of Lorien. Tolkien says they speak Westron as their native tongue. Since Westron is the replacement of Romance (and Hellenic) languages, and given their geographic location relative to the Old West Saxon-speaking Wild-hobbits (to the north) and OHG-speaking Woodman (to the east) they would be Third Age equivalent of "Frenchmen". They might be called "Woodmen of the Lower Anduin" or "Dene-men".
  • Ithilien, as the Garden of Gondor is partly modeled on Kent, the Garden of England.
  • The (pre-Numenorean) name Forlong (the Fat) means "over-eat" in Irish: for- "over-" and long- "to eat".
  • The pre-Numenorean name Eilenach, one of the beacon-hills of Gondor, is phonoaesthetically inspired by a real Scottish Gaelic place-name. It means "island-like".
  • From an out-of-story perspective, the wordshape "Gundabad" is likely from the name of the Burgundian king "Gundobad." (Similar to how JRRT admits that "Rohan", as a wordshape, is from the French-Breton noble family.)
  • Arnor is like the Arthurian Kingdom of Britain, with Arthedain like the under-kingdom of Loegria (Southumbrian England), Cardolan like the under-kingdom of Kambria (Wales), and Rhudaur like Albany (Northumbrian England).
  • Buckland was an extension from the "England" represented by Arthedain into the "Wales" represented by Cardolan.
  • The Westron dialects and folk culture in Gondor might be partly inspired by the various counties of the South of England, extending from Kent (as Ithilien) to Devon (as Anfalas). Another inspiration would be the Byzantine-era Mediterranean extending from Greece to the South of France.
  • The Men of Nurn are equivalent to Dark Age Armenians.
  • Evil Trinity of Anthroposophy: Saruman is the 3.A. equivalent of the being called Ahriman (cold intellect), Sauron is Lucifer (hot desire), and Morgoth is the equivalent of the Sun Demon (black radical evil). The Sun Demon was in the Solar System from the Beginning. Lucifer came to Earth later, then Ahriman.
  • The Blue Wizards Morinehtar and Romestamo are the Bodhisattvas Moriah and Kutumi of Theosophical and Anthroposophical lore. Anthroposophy gives the impression that they partly failed in their mission, having established Yoga in opposition to Rosicrucianism.
Other peoples of the West-lands:
  • There are likely "Middle-earth Old Frisians" living on the east bank of the Anduin, on and near the largest island on the map. Suggested "Terp-town" with "Terp-men".
  • RotK mentions that peoples from the "borders of Mirkwood" sent embassies to King Aragorn. Besides the Balchoth, the other unfree peoples of Rhovanion would include: Viniths of Eastern Mirkwood and Viniths of Southern Mirkwood, plus Third Age equivalents of Lechs ("Hulans of Northern Rhovanion"), Moravians ("Marwarrows of the Bight"), Magyars ("Ussarons of the Horse Plain"), Prussians ("Bohoth"), Croats, Serbs, Arbanasi (the latter three peoples dwelling along the east bank of the Anduin, between Mirkwood and Ithilien), Vlachs ("Blakumen, or Shepherd-folk of Southern Rhovanion"; Westron is their mother-tongue), and Pechenegs ("Beshoth of the Kine Plain"). Near the Sea of Rhun there'd be equivalents of Iverians, Abasgians, Kassogs, and Caucasian Albanians.
  • East of the Snowmen, north of the Iron Hills, there'd be "Middle-earth versions" of Terfinns/Kola Saami, Kvens (northern Amazons, whose country is called "Cwenaland" in Vale-speech, "Queenland" in Westron), Finns (proper), Tavastians, Karels, Beorms, and the legendary peoples of Magnus' history: Dog-Headed Men, arctic Cyclopes, and arctic Pygmies or Dwarves.
  • Evil men of northern Angmar include Redshanks (Middle-earth Picts) and Kerns and Gallowglasses (Middle-earth Scottish Gaels and Norse-Gaels).
The default equivalent cultural era for the late Third Age is 850 to 1050, the dates mentioned by Tolkien (in an essay with Sigurd and Gudrun) as the time-span of the Norse high culture.

This covers all the 900 A.D-era peoples of Europe west of the Baltic Sea (of which the Redwater is the geographical equivalent). The Middle-earth Ests, Livs, Curs, Semigallians, Selonians, Latgallians, and Lithuanians would dwell on the east bank of the Redwater. The Middle-earth Russians ("Easterlings with axes") would dwell further east. The people to the east of the "Kine Plain" would be "Middle-earth Cumans".


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